Conservative Diary

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Conservatives reluctantly accept that asset sales are "probably necessary"

9.30am on 12th October: On CentreRight Charlie Elphicke describes the Labour plan as a "firesale"


HAMMOND PHILIPNews has emerged tonight that Gordon Brown is tomorrow set to announce the sale of various national assets in order to raise some cash, with figures of between £3 billion and £16 billion being cited as the potential amount of revenue to be raised.

The BBC suggests that likely to be included in the sale are:

  • The Tote;
  • The Dartford crossing;
  • The student loan book;
  • The Channel Tunnel rail link;
  • The government's stake in URENCO, the nuclear fuel company operating several uranium enrichment plants.

A Conservative spokesman has been quoted as saying:

"As any family knows selling off things helps in the short-term and, given the state the country is in, is probably necessary but it is no substitute for a long-term plan to get the country to live within its means."

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Philip Hammond, has just repeated that message in a Sky News interview, describing it as "sensible thing to look at", but emphasising the need to seek the "best value for money for the taxpayer". He made the point that as Chancellor, Gordon Brown had sold the country's gold reserves at the bottom of the market, when they were worth a quarter of what they would have been worth now.

Jonathan Isaby


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